Fabulous February an overview of a months birding.

My first visit of the month was to Brandon Marsh on a very cold day, the number of species seen was 48, the highlights were the first Brandon Bittern this year over Newlands reed beds followed by a Barn Owl in the same area within a few minutes.

Bittern

Other notables were Water Rail, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard, Goldeneye, Shelduck, Pochard, Widgeon, Kingfisher, Goldcrest, Fieldfare, Redwing, Redpol, Bullfinch and as I left the reserve I heard a Tawny Owl calling.

Bullfinch

My second outing was a brief trip to Draycote Water where the species count was 30. My main reason for this visit was to see the Black Necked Grebe which was seen from the spit on Farnborough bank, here also were a great amount of Little Grebe, I recall at least 31 whilst walking to the hide area. As usual all the common ducks, geese and gulls were on the water and on the way back towards the visitors centre I stopped at regular intervals to check out the fields below Farnborough bank, here were 2 White Fronted Geese along with a Pink Footed Goose.

The following weekend I was up early to meet up with birding buddy Gary to go in search of the Great Grey Shrike at Deenethorpe in Northamptonshire, we found the reported location thanks to there being a couple of birders already there with scopes scanning the area. Plenty of Yellowhammer, Redwing and Fieldfare were seen, plus three Red Kites and within five minutes we had the Shrike in our scopes albeit it was half a mile away. Chuffed with our sighting we then carried on to Market Deeping Lakes in search of Long Eared Owl. With assistance from locals we soon had a single Owl in our scopes. After a brief stay here we then moved on to our final location for the day which was Elderell Fens. Upon arrival we managed to get parked in the small car park and soon had ourselves set up to scan the area. The afternoon turned in to one of the best UK birding experiences I've had, with the following magnificent birds seen.

Barn Owl
5 Short eared Owls
2 Barn Owl
5 Common Cranes
3 Marsh Harriers
1 Peregrine Falcon
1 Kestrel
100 + Whooper Swans
1 Kingfisher
4 Red Kites
2 Buzzards



The following weekend I visited Frampton Marsh with fellow birders Steve and Gary, species seen here was 57. The highlights were Grey Partridge, Brent Geese, Egyptian Geese, Barnacle Geese, Pintail, Scaup, Merlin, Kestrel, Golden Plover, Ruff, Black Tailed Godwit, Stonechat and Skylarks singing overhead. As we made our way to leave the reserve two Barn Owls were out quartering the reeds which made for a great end to our day of birding.

Distant Barn Owl
 The last trip of February was with the local Coventry and Warwickshire RSPB Group our destination being RSPB Rainham Marshes in Kent. Having been here a few times now I was expecting good numbers of waders along with the same on the Thames mud flats, sadly this was not to be the case and it turned out to be rather disappointing on the wader front. However, Dunlin, Golden Plover and Redshank where aplenty with a few Curlew and Pintail scattered around the area. Little Egrets and Grey Heron continued to make passes over the scapes as the weather turned to wind and rain! 

My February species list of 95 is as follows;

Barn Owl, Barnacle Goose, Bittern, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black Headed Gull, Black Necked Grebe, Black Tailed Godwit, Blue Tit, Brent Goose, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Cetti's Warbler, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Egyptian Goose, Filedfare, Feral Pigeon, Gadwall, Golden Plover, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Black Backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Great Grey Shrike, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Grey Patridge, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Knot, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Long Eared Owl, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Mealy Redpoll, Merlin, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine Falcon, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pink Footed Goose, Pintail, Pochard, Red Kite, Redshank, Redwing, Reed Bunting, Robin, Rook, Ruff, Scaup, Shelduck, Short Eared Owl, Shoveler, Skylark, Snipe, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stonechat, Tawny Owl, Teal, Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck, Water Rail, White Fronted Goose, Whooper swan, Wigeon, Wood Pigeon, Wren and Yellowhammer. 

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